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Hemp Heroes 2021

It’s no secret that a stigma has surrounded hemp and even CBD for years. However, the general population is now beginning to understand the many benefits of this plant thanks to the individuals who have studied and advocated for hemp for years.

Following is a list of our top heroes of hemp, who we want to thank for the contributions they have made to the hemp and CBD industry. Please submit your recommendations for our 2021 list!


Cristina Sanchez, Ph.D.

By today’s standards, Dr. Cristina Sanchez was well ahead of her time when she began discussing CBD’s possible benefits in the 1990s. Sanchez still stands as an advocate and is a prominent speaker at hemp-related conferences around the world.

Alex Capano, Ph.D.

A major hemp advocate, Dr. Alex Capano travels around the world educating both politicians and patients on the science behind hemp. She also serves as the Chief Science Officer for Ananda Hemp (under EcoFibre Limited), where she formulates and creates the capsules, balms and tinctures they sell.

Kimberly Dillon

The founder of a hemp-related consulting firm, Plant and Prosper, as well as CMO of CBD company Papa & Barkley, Kimberly Dillon has spent years as an advocate. She shows people every day how CBD might be the right choice for them, having left her old marketing job after feeling “transformed” when trying CBD herself.

Mary Pryor

The New York Chapter President of Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Mary Pryor has made great strides on the legislative side as she champions for more just laws regarding the hemp plant. Passionate about vetted CBD products from a New York retailer, she also manages the partners, outreach and marketing for Come Back Daily.

Catharine Dockery

An advocate for CBD and other cannabis-related businesses, Catharine Dockery backed a $25 million donation to about 30 different startups across the country. In 2018, she was also the investor for Recess, a now-popular CBD drink in the industry.

Solonje Burnett

Very passionate about CBD and cannabis advocacy as a business owner in the space, Solonje Burnett understands what it takes to get the wheel turning. To quote her directly, “If you’re not a part of the legalization conversation, you won’t have any control of where the industry goes.”

Amanda Reiman

Across the nation, Amanda Reiman has made an influence regarding significant drug policy changes. She aims to conduct more studies in support of the plant and disprove archaic cannabis stereotypes that continue to hold the country back.

Jazmin Hupp

One of the most influential women in the cannabis space, Jazmin Hupp has been featured in Forbes, Fortune and The Economist, among others. She has a raw determination and unparalleled drive to empower and educate the public about cannabis.

Jane West

Breaking down stereotypes as an advocate and voice for the hemp industry, Jane West has appeared in HERB, Leafly and even Playboy. After being fired for vaping on CNBC, West used her resilience to let adversity help her lead the charge as an influential figurehead.

Ryan VandenBussche

A retired NHL enforcer, Ryan VandenBussche knew others had to learn about CBD when he finally tried it himself. After learning about it through word of mouth and then taking his own due diligence to learn about it, he’s passionate about spreading his knowledge and experience with everyone.

David Ahrens

A retired NFL linebacker, David Ahrens switched to CBD after years of using opioids for his pain. He only tried CBD after hearing about it repeatedly, so he wants to be another voice for others who haven’t tried it themselves yet.

Riley Cote

A retired NHL winger, Riley Cote read Hemp for Health in 2012 and has been a firm believe in CBD since. To quote Cote, “It opened my eyes to the world of non-intoxicating cannabinoids.”

Raúl Elizalde

The Mexico President of HempMeds, Raúl Elizalde, spoke in Geneva, Switzerland about CBD at the World Health Organization’s International Drug Scheduling Convention back in 2017. He continues to advocate for CBD and other hemp-derived products.

Kit O’Connell

The editor in chief of Ministry of Hemp, Kit O’Connell is a longtime advocate for hemp and CBD.

Gunhee Park

A passionate man ready to bring hemp to the globe, Gunhee Park is a strong advocate for the uses, value and benefits the hemp plant has to offer. He assists the Ministry of Hemp in raising awareness about industrial hemp and stands as the co-founder of Populum, a popular CBD oil brand.

Pamela Bosch

An educator and long-standing hemp activist, Pamela Bosch is the founder of Highland Hemp House, which is a pioneering project meant to create a healthy, ideal living space by using natural materials like hemp-lime.

Rick Trojan

With over 21 years of entrepreneurial experience, a global network and a true passion for the hemp community, Rick Trojan built the Hemp Road Trip platform. He aims to encourage hemp’s positive impacts by creating strategic alliances across the world.

Joy Smith

The namesake and co-founder of Joy Organics, Joy Smith is a passionate advocate for a better-regulated CBD industry. She stands behind only using premium, USA-grown hemp and exercising radical transparency to set a high standard for both the CBD market and consumers.

Alex Escher

Understanding the sustainability potential of industrial hemp, Alex Escher created Escher Design to develop, promote and help standardize a hemp-based, cost-effective building system. With a passion for innovative supply chain development, green technology and the research behind it all, this system would exceed even energy conservation code requirements.

Doug Fine

Working on what Willie Nelson calls “a blueprint for the America of the future,” Doug Fine is a research collaborator for a hemp seed development project for the University of Hawaii. In addition, he’s a lead consultant for the very first federally permitted Native American hemp project; Fine helped grow and continues to market a farm-to-table hemp product that could cause a ripple effect across other industries.


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